Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Little Rock, Ark. – The Arkansas Supreme Court today unanimously struck down the state’s restrictive photo ID requirement, ruling it violated the state constitution by imposing an additional “qualification” to voting that would make it harder for citizens to cast a ballot.
The ruling comes as many Americans face an ever-shifting voting landscape before heading to the polls this November. Arkansas was one of seven states with a major lawsuit challenging voting restrictions ahead of the 2014 election. Yesterday, an appellate court reinstated Texas’s photo ID law. Plaintiffs filed an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently blocked implementation of Wisconsin’s strict photo ID law, but allowed restrictions to remain in place in North Carolina and Ohio.
Working from the moment her mom died at the age 16 til now at age 52, my mom works endlessly yet we still find ourselves struggling to make ends meet. Is this her fault or the systems? Bill O’Reilly, a conservative political commentator with his own Fox TV show, seems to think the blame is on the individual stating, “You gotta look people in the eye and tell ‘em they’re irresponsible and lazy. And who’s gonna wanna do that? Because that’s what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen.” Irresponsible? My mom while raising five of her brothers and sisters also studied in her country’s university. She came to America and worked over 40 hours a week and we still found ourselves homeless at one point. Who exactly is to blame? The way I see it...the system is. This systematic problem that is based on capitalism is what makes sure that we start off poor and stay that way no matter what good choices we make or how hard we work or how much “responsibility” we put on ourselves.
Evidently, only men are supposed to ask for raises. Women who do will only annoy their bosses and instead should simply have faith in the system and hope for good karma. This is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently stated. Although he later apologized for his “inarticulate” response, the fact remains that his initial answer serves to mask the tremendous gender wage gap that still exists. It also reinforces dangerous beliefs about workplace communication, which research has found already differs in ways that generally disadvantage female workers.
It is very clear that women’s wages still lag behind men’s in most every industry. In 2013, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that full-time, year-round female workers earned 78 percent of what their male counterparts earned. In the technology industry, women earn, on average, $6,358 less than their male counterparts, and women with at least one child earn $11,247 less than all other workers, according to a study by the American Institute for Economic Research. The AAUW found that female engineers made 88 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries, while women in the financial services industry earn $14,067 a year less than men, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.
Consider this comical scene described by Peter Van Buren, a former US diplomat, who was deployed to Iraq on a 12-month assignment in 2009-10:
Van Buren led two Department of State teams assigned with the abstract mission of the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq, which was destroyed in the US-led wars and sanctions. He describes the reconstruction of Iraq as such:
“In practice, that meant paying for schools that would never be completed, setting up pastry shops on streets without water or electricity, and conducting endless propaganda events on Washington-generated themes of the week (‘small business,’ ‘women's empowerment,’ ‘democracy building.’)”
It is September 26, 2014, and once again Mexico will soon fill the headlines of news outlets worldwide: 43 college students from a rural community in the state of Guerrero went missing. The immediate thought that come to the minds of many is the long repeated story and state-logic that frames these kinds of events under one and only rubric: the narco.
With that word in the horizon, Mexicans are slowly losing the capacity for surprise and concern. It may just be another narco-disappearance or execution among gangs, another one among thousands of tragedies that become the bread of every day. Perhap, this is why the news of the missing students got stronger momentum among the international media at first: the New York Times, the Guardian, Vice, Al Jazeera, the Washington Post, the BBC.
Santa Barbara – Some 73 civil society leaders from 22 countries around the world have lent their support to the people and government of the Marshall Islands and the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.
On April 24, 2014, The Marshall Islands (RMI) filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice and US Federal Court to hold the nine nuclear-armed nations accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.
The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established on 1 June 2004 by Security Council resolution 1542 . The UN mission succeeded a Multinational Interim Force (MIF) authorized by the Security Council in February 2004. The mission has a mandate to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights. With MINUSTAH’s mandate renewed on October 14, 2014, it is opportune to review the mission’s accomplishments during its ten-year presence in Haiti.
The recent deaths of Mike Brown and VonDerrit Myers and the resulting protests have stirred up a lot of emotions and opinions. People who would never consider themselves racist have been saying things that can come across as just that.
Last week the Seattle City Council took the courageous decision to celebrate October 13th as Indigenous People’s Day. This is a national event, for in making this decision, Seattle is showing all of us how to take steps toward renewing our nation and remaking it in a more just and less violent image.
Americans descend from many different indigenous and non-indigenous nations and it is often unclear just what defines us as a people. Let me put forth the idea that what many of us share is a history of violence, suffering, oppression and trauma.